Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Audio: the history of lesbians in the Middle East

Source: Out FM

There is a group of historians writing about the long and well documented history of homosexuality in the Middle East, but most of them focus nearly exclusively on men. The first scholar to make Arab lesbians of antiquity her focus is Professor Samar Habib, author of Islam and Homosexuality, and Female Homosexuality in the Middle East: Histories and Representations.

In the interview, Habib discusses lesbians throughout history in the Middle East, addressing questions such as: Is there such a thing as an indigenous Middle Eastern homosexual, or is it a Western import? Isn't calling same-gender-loving women of antiquity 'lesbians' ahistorical, since they would never have conceptualized themselves as lesbians? What kind of evidence is there for the existence of these lesbians (or, as Habib  translates the ancient Arabic term for them, 'grinders')? How do lesbians in the region today compare to their foremothers?

Part One

Part two

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